How often do you get to guide a pepper-eating mutant chicken hero, shoot pizza toppings from a gun or design a planet?
FUSE, the interactive media department’s annual portfolio show, which took place on April 27, offered all that and more. The event allowed the public to view and try out students’ work.
The Peoria Riverfront Museum was flooded with sound, bursting from colorful and endlessly moving screens of the 16 projects featured. This year’s FUSE had more projects and exhibitions on display than any other year before.
Nearly 2,000 people attended the event and could be seen wearing virtual reality goggles, clicking tablets or waving controllers.
“It is one thing to hear compliments from people, but a whole different thing to see on people’s faces how much enjoyment they’re getting out of the student’s projects,” said Selena Pappas, junior animation and game design major.
Some game concepts from this year-beyond the chicken, pizza guns and planet-building- included an insect in a hot air balloon rescuing other bugs from a flood, monsters accidentally released from books in a magician’s library, evil spirits tormenting a village and an eagle and salamander fighting a chimera.
Other projects included animations for the museum’s planetarium, augmented reality for NASA astronauts, a virtual reality escape room and an app that monitors launched satellites.
All aspects of FUSE are student-led, by a force of over 200 students. A production team of sophomores and juniors ensures the event itself, advertising and the creations, runs smoothly. The seniors advise younger students and work in their projects as they also work in large groups on their own senior capstone projects.
“When you work FUSE, you become really close to the department, and you get to plan and work towards a real event instead of mostly personal projects,” said Anna Coulter, junior user experience major.
The entire concept is collaborative, as each project is developed by teams ranging from two to 18 students.
This year, the show even collaborated outside of their department, working with public relations students to market their event more concretely, sticking to an action-hero theme for the year.
“Maybe we could even get more external departments involved in the projects,” said Cailyn Talamonti, sophomore animation major. “I hope that FUSE grows to be something that the entire Bradley campus looks forward to.”
FUSE and the interactive media department are both relatively new.
“A decade ago FUSE didn’t even exist, and our department was still in its budding stages. Even now the [interactive media] department is still growing rapidly and changing drastically to serve its student body,” Pappas said.
Senior game design major Peter Arzola, described FUSE in its previous years as only an “infant” that has now grown into a “child” with years of growth ahead.
“FUSE has become a really great opportunity not only for our students to reach out to the community, but for the museum to spread its mission of life-long learning and for Peorians to show our students what makes this city so special,” Pappas said.